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Wake: Watersong #1    by Amanda Hocking order for
by Amanda Hocking
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Amanda Hocking, author of the popular Trylle books (Switched, Torn, Ascend), now turns her eye seaward for a new paranormal YA series, Watersong. The first episode, Wake, delivers a much smoother, well written and better developed story than the Trylle books.

The Prologue introduces three alluring sisters - Penn, Lexi and Thea - in a cove by the ocean, spattered in blood. Thea worries but Penn assures her, 'I've had my eye on someone ... And it won't be long before she's ours.' Folk in the nearby town of Capri wonder why there were four of these girls and now there are only three - where did the other one go? When they sing, the melody is mesmerizing.

Our heroine, sixteen-year-old Gemma, is a swimmer. Not only does she train daily, but she enjoys late-night swims in a nearby bay. Her elder sister Harper (who mothers her) is concerned for her safety, as several local boys have gone missing. But Gemma's father permits it (their mother died years before). And Gemma's stomach flutters whenever she sees the boy next door, eighteen-year-old Alex, a good friend of her sister's.

The strange girls start showing a disturbing interest in Gemma. After one of her late night swims, they entice her to join them and she finds herself unable to refuse the drink they force on her. Harper and her friend Daniel find Gemma bruised and scratched in the cove the next morning. And soon she realizes that she has changed in fundamental ways.

Eventually she learns from the girls that they must keep their number to four, that they are cursed immortals, and that they have made her one of their number. But, in addition to having extreme strength, healing, beauty and the ability to breathe underwater, there is a dark side to the sirens' nature, which soon threatens people that Gemma loves. She's forced to make a hard choice and to leave everything - and everyone - familiar behind her.

Wake is an enthralling beginning to the Watersong series. It's hard not to like both innocent Gemma and bossy Harper, and to feel for both of them as they deal with the appalling hand Gemma's been dealt. As this episode concludes, Harper vows to get her sister back 'if that was the last thing she ever did.' I'm looking forward to whatever comes next.

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